Facebook is killing off its encrypted email program because nobody used it

Email app on mobile device
(Image credit: Brett Jordan on Unsplash)

Facebook is killing off an eight-year-old feature that probably no-one was using anyway, because there’s a much better solution that’s likely used by the majority of the platform’s users.

From 2015, users have been able to opt-in to receive encrypted notification emails from Facebook, but the majority of those emails are usually considered spam, mostly notifying users about likes and comments that the app can do already, so it’s likely that most people have by now opted out entirely from Facebook’s emails.

It’s unclear precisely why Facebook axed the program, but the general consensus is that low uptake and unnecessary upkeep costs contributed to its demise.

Facebook gets rid of encrypted emails

In the runup to Facebook hitting the big kill switch, a message spotted by TechCrunch read: “You can use this feature until it is removed on December 5. This means that soon, emails you receive from Facebook will no longer be encrypted.”

At the time of the program’s launch, encryption was a hot topic given the recent leaks by Edward Snowden, and while online security and privacy is bigger than ever today, receiving encrypted emails using dated PGP technology is really such a niche that it’s no surprise Facebook has pulled the plug.

Much more recently, Facebook added encrypted messaging as an option to Messenger, but the company doesn’t speak too favorably about it. Instead, Facebook warns users that they may lose messages if they clear cookies or use a private browser, and that they cannot report video or audio calls to the company.

What’s more, if youre really that bothered about encrypted emailing, then you’ll want to go the full hog rather than opt-in to individual services, by considering platforms like Proton Mail.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!